Sunday, December 24, 2006

Day #4 in Pucon – The Rain Endeth!!!

Christmas Eve in Pucon, the rain ended. We had scheduled a trip to the volcanic caves (lava tubes?), and dutifully showed up for the outing at 10:00 a.m. (I think that was the earliest I’ve gotten out since we arrived in Pucon. My long suffering, “morning person” wife could tell you for sure.)

The rain abated, but the clouds still hide the volcano, occasionally lifting enough to give little peeks at the lower slopes. On the ride up, we saw old lava flows, now channels for snow melt.

Actually, just about everything else I might say about the area is made up, as the driver spoke only Spanish. We chatted away, but I think he was probably much more impressed with the breadth of Spanish he thought I knew than I was with what I know I know. (Nineteen years as a missionary kid provide an awful lot of practice in faking it.)
The view back over Lake Villarica doesn’t quite show the town of Pucon, but you can see the sizeable (~1 x 0.4 km) peninsula that bisects the town waterfront. We’d tried to walk out there yesterday, but were prevented by forbidding private guard stations barring the two roads. Today, our driver told us that the whole peninsula is owned by one person, and contains a golf & tennis club, plus some condos. (Or at least, I think that’s what he said.)
Every once in a while, you get little reminders that tourism is still a developing industry here. After a rather bouncy ride up the volcanic slopes, we reached the entry to the cave complex only to find it closed and posted with a sign, “Closed. We’ll be back December 27. Merry Christmas.” This was a little disappointing, but it was still a fun outing. Before heading back, we took a short walk to photograph the wildflowers growing on the lava rock near the snowline. The tour company will take us back up there later this week. With luck, this time they’ll call and make sure the place is open first.

Today is nine months exactly since we were married!

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